"Not So Stranger" by Living Out A Sacrifice

"Do you need a ride?"

I turned to see a man peering at me through a rolled-down car window. The rain was thick, my sweater was soaked and my legs were begging me to grab a ride.

"No thanks," I shook my head.

"You sure?" he asked. I was about to nod when a bolt of lightening pounded forcefully against the earth in the distance. Before I could control myself, I whimpered.

"Get in, please," the man said more firmly, but he still seemed concerned.

"Ok," I obliged and slipped into the passenger seat.

He began to drive, and I hastily pulled my jacket's hood off my head.

"Where do you live?" he asked.

"You could just drop me off at that convenient store." I pointed at one down the street.

"You sure?" the man seemed hesitant. "I could take you home, sweetie," he said.

The use of that particular endearment made me cringe. Even though the man was well-dressed, and his car was nice, and he was actually very handsome and not that old didn't mean that he wasn't a rapist.

"Here," I said, only, I didn't believe myself, because as we got closer to the store I saw that the haven was as appealing as riding with a stranger.

"No," the stranger thought the same thing. "I'll take you somewhere where I won't worry you made it through the night," the man said decisively and continued driving past the gas station.

"How old are you?" he asked.

"What the hell kind of question is that?" I snapped. His green eyes widened in surprise.

"Just a question...." He seemed uncomfortable as he pulled to a stop at a stop sign.

"Well, it's none of your goddamn business." I didn't need to be nice. He was still a stranger, after all.

"There's my house," he gestured to a large brick house on the corner.

"Really?" I didn't believe him. He could tell, because he smirked.

"Really. I'd prove it to you, only I just left that place to get away from my bitchy wife." I must've made a face, because he said, "I can curse, too."

I smiled. He kept driving into the now pouring rain and the dark night. Looking out the window, I couldn't even see what he claimed to be his house anymore.

"I live on Sicamore," I resolutely admitted.

"Good. I got a name and somewhere to actually go." The man smiled; a nice smile, I noted. "You know, my cousin lives on Richardson, just two blocks over."

"I don't really know anyone here, I just moved," I revealed more.

The man turned left, and I assumed he knew where he was going.

"Yeah, I thought something was up when you were walking away from the houses and actually toward the town lake."

"See? I am new. I didn't even know there was a town lake."

He laughed and continued driving.

"Thanks for this distraction," he said.

"Hmmm...?"

"I am pissed at my wife, and she's just...." He clutched the steering wheel so tightly that his fingers turned white.

"One of those," I smirked.

"Excuse me?"

"You love her so much, you hate her. That's how my parents are," I said knowingly.

"How old are you?" he braved to ask again.

"I'm sixteen."

"You look younger."

"Thank you."

"No need to be sarcastic; I'm just saying."

"I know, and I'm just saying women like to look younger, right?"

"I suppose," he nodded. "I'm twenty-five."

"Congratulations," I was distracted. "I think this is my street. It's hard to tell through the rain."

"Yeah, this is Sicamore." He too struggled to see through the rain.

"What number are you?"

"318."

He now had all the tools a rapist-serial killer could wish to obtain. He better be happy, I thought.

"That's on the far end." He motioned off into the black abyss and I sighed and leaned my head against the window.

"What are you doing out in this storm, anyway?" he asked.

I sighed. "Stupid party. The people I wanted to make friends with, well, they're not the type you should be friends with."

"I know what you mean," the stranger smiled, and I realized he wasn't so strange after all.

"Here we are," he stopped in front of my house.

"Thanks." I smiled before sliding out of the car. His hand on my shoulder made me turn around.

"And hey, you'll make friends."

"I know. And hey, every time you hate your wife because you love her, remember that you do at least love her."

"Can do."

He winked. I rolled my eyes, stepped away from the car and watched him drive off. I'd never see him again.

-the end-